Cadbury Schweppes has stayed silent on recent reports sugesting that a front runner has surfaced for the purchase of its Americas beverage unit.

Reports in Europe this weekend have suggested that a joint bid by private equity company Blackstone, along with KKR and Lion Capital, looks to be heading the race for the drinks unit.

When contacted by just-drinks today (16 July), however, a spokesperson for the company would not be drawn on the reports. "We will not be commenting on speculation," the spokesperson said, adding that no timetable for any sale has been set.

Last month, the UK-based company confirmed that it will look to sell off its beverage arm in North America. Since then, speculation has mounted as to who would look to buy it, including The Coca-Cola Co., who has said it is interested in acquiring Cadbury Schweppes' iced tea line Snapple.

Although no deadline has been set for bids, just-drinks understands that a decision on a purchaser is imminent - possibly within the next month.

Separate reports this weekend have suggested that a rise in the cost of borrowing in the US will result in the asking price for the drinks unit being cut by around GBP500m (US$1.02bn). Sources close to Cadbury were cited in a report by The Sunday Times claiming that the unit will probably raise a maximum of GBP7.5bn and not the GBP8bn initially expected.